College cuts may result in redundancies

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THE principal of Borders College has said she can’t rule out the possibility of compulsory redundancies as the college tries to remedy the £750,000 cut to its budget.

The cut in the college’s funding for 2011/12 equates to 10.3 per cent and principal Liz McIntyre said that like other local organisations, Borders College, which was formed in 1984 and has campuses in Netherdale, Newton St Boswells and Hawick as well as learning centres in Duns, Jedburgh and Peebles, was facing testing financial times.

But she was keen to emphasise that any cuts that arise would not be to the detriment of students’ education.

She commented: “In line with other parts of the public sector, Borders College is facing a challenging reduction in its budget for 2011/2012.

“The level of budget reduction in a single year has challenged our organisation to be both innovative and creative in reviewing our services and the way in which they are delivered.

“In developing a strategy to deal with this unprecedented cut in funding, Borders College will continue to deliver high quality education and training in response to the needs of our local economy and community and will work with partners to optimise the funds available to us.

“The College is busy reviewing its curriculum offer, the services it provides to partners and the efficiency with which it delivers programmes and supporting functions and this may lead to a readjustment of the staffing resources required.

“Every attempt will be made by the College to reduce any staffing using voluntary means but we cannot rule out the possibility that we may be facing some compulsory redundancies.

“In the meantime, it is our intention, to maintain the level of student places available to individuals in the Scottish Borders who wish to study at Borders College next year and our applications process for next year is now underway.

“We look forward to welcoming new learners to Borders College in the Autumn and we remain committed to retaining our standards, our reputation and our high level of success.”

John Lamont MSP for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, said he was concerned by the the news of the expected cuts at Borders College, adding that more should be done to secure the financial future for Borders College and other educational institutions throughout Scotland.

He commented: “I have had a number of discussions with Liz McIntyre about the challenges which Borders College are facing. The reality is that with £750,000 coming out of their budget, there will need to be significant changes to balance the books.”

“However, it is my view that we should be investing in our colleges so that our young people have the necessary skills for when the economy recovers.”

“The Scottish Conservatives have been calling on the SNP Government, for four years, to take the necessary steps to secure the financial sustainability of further and higher education institutions in Scotland.

“ Four years later, all we have is a fig leaf of a Green Paper which is being used by the SNP Government to delay the difficult - but essential - decisions before an election.”

“It is imperative, not only for the future of aspiring students, but also for the economic and cultural future of our country, that additional funds are secured for both the further and higher education sectors.

“That is why Scottish Conservatives believe it is essential to outline new proposals to help the college sector as well as those which will reform higher education funding.

“Our proposals will explore expanding the availability of loans to cover the cost of tuition, as well as increased bursary support for the poorest students.”

“The SNP Government must secure the financial future of Borders College and other colleges and universities across Scotland.”